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Apollo 11: How & # 39; stupid luck & # 39; preserved iconic moon photos from destruction



The Apollo 11 moon landing produced some of the most famous photos ever taken. However, a processing mistake in Houston when the films were returned to Earth almost caused a "photographic catastrophe" of truly epic proportions.

"One of the defining moments of the 20th century was almost lost to posterity," explains Zeiss, which provided camera lenses for Apollo 11 on its website. The Apollo 11 images had arrived shortly after the crew's return from the moon in Houston.

"However, before the moon photos were developed, the processing equipment was retested with a test film," Zeiss said. During this inspection, the film processor suddenly began to leak ethylene oxide and destroyed the test film.

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"This turned out to be a blessing: Thanks to this final test, the development team was able to break the defect fast fix and develop the images of the first moon landing successfully, "said the lens manufacturer. "The photos taken during the lunar missions were published around the world and made history." [NASA'sphototakenonJuly201969] shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin, pilot of the lunar module, on the lunar surface of Apollo 11's alien activity. “/>

In this NASA-provided photo of the 20th July, 1969, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin enters the lunar surface during the alien activity of Apollo 11.
(Neil Armstrong / NASA on AP)

It is not clear how many Apollo 11 photos would be affected if ethylene oxide from the mission had reached the actual film. During the historic mission, a large number of photographs were taken. These include Neil Armstrong's iconic shot of Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface with the Apollo 11 mission commander in the sights of Aldrin and the famous image of Aldrin's boot print.

"The Moon and Surface Photographs Obtained During Apollo 11 Apollo 11 missions were of good quality, resolution, and contrast," NASA said in a 1970 report. Among them were 1,359 images of 70mm photographs and 17 pairs of stereoscopic lunar surface photographs.

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Neither NASA nor Kodak, who provided the film for Apollo 11, could shed any light on this give the incident when they were contacted by Fox News.

  Buzz Aldrin's footprint on the lunar surface. (NASA)

Buzz Aldrin's footprint on the lunar surface. (NASA)

In Billy Watkins' book "Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes," Richard Underwood, NASA's head of photography during the Apollo 11 mission, described how the ethylene oxide licked and melted the test film.

"The spaceship was about to crash, and we went through a final test with the movie processor that had been reviewed hundreds of times before," he said.

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If Armstrong's film had gone there without this last test, he would have eaten it, "he added Underwood added. "It would have been the biggest photographic disaster in the planet's history."

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On July 20, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing took place.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @ jamesjrogers


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